eCity law firm Norton Rose has released research on the Government's proposals for a new corporate killing bill

The Norton Rose Report on Corporate Killing: the View from Business is industry's first response to the proposals. Interviewees included board directors, senior safety managers and legal counsel from 105 organisations.

The research focused particularly on companies that operate potentially hazardous lines of business. Two thirds of them said that the proposals would have a negative impact on business, with 64% thinking the legislation would promote a blame culture and 66% thinking it would make business risk averse. Furthermore, 59% were not convinced that the new legislation would improve safety. Other findings include:

- POLITICAL MANOEUVRE - 60% of companies thought the Government's proposals were primarily a political manoeuvre to satisfy voters

- CORPORATE REPUTATION - 59% said their greatest professional worry about a work-related death would be the impact on corporate reputation

- RESPONSIBILITY OR CULPABILITY? The majority of companies (79%) thought that one member of the board should have overall responsibility for safety issues. 55% thought that individual senior company directors should be held personally and criminally liable for failings within their organisations

- HEALTH & SAFETY EXECUTIVE - 68% did not have confidence in the Health & Safety Executive's ability to carry out fair and effective investigations into corporate killing incidents

- IMPROVING SAFETY - Most companies thought that the only way to effect meaningful change would be to change cultural attitudes from top to bottom. Legislation was seen as likely to be ineffective, because of inadequate enforcement.